DEER PARK, Texas—A Deer Park teenager has been charged with manslaughter for allegedly causing a crash that killed Andreaka Bell and injured another passenger almost one year ago.
Taylar Braden, 19, is accused of causing Bell’s death by driving her car at an excessive speed, failing to maintain proper lookout, failing to control the speed of her car, failing to maintain a single lane, consuming alcohol unlawfully and speeding above the posted speed.
The investigation into the accident fell apart when the Deer Park Police Department revealed it had failed to interview witnesses or to test Braden’s blood-alcohol level at the time of the crash.
The family of 18-year old Bell knew that without information from the scene, it would be difficult to file charges.
They launched an online petition to bring attention to their case, which finally went before a judge on Friday.
Prosecutors determined that there was enough evidence to move forward with manslaughter charges against Braden.
Investigators say that Braden drove her friends Bell and Ashley Broussard to a house party on August 13, 2011.
Bell stayed in the back seat of the car to sleep, Broussard said to police.
She also said that they played drinking games before Braden got involved in a fight with another male guest. Witnesses say that when Braden threw a beer at the man, the owner of the house asked everyone to leave.
That’s when Braden allegedly got into the driver seat, with Broussard on the passenger side and Bell still asleep in the back.
Broussard told police that Braden sped in order to catch up with the young man she had fought with earlier.
Braden lost control of the car, which flipped onto its roof, ejecting both Braden and Bell on the 4300 block of West Pasadena Boulevard.
They were flown to Memorial Hermann, where Bell later died.
Broussard suffered from fractures on both sides of her hips, compressed discs in her spine and cuts and bruises, according to court documents.
In an interview with police, Braden said that there were alcoholic beverages at the party and that she was the person driving the car, but that she did not remember if she drank anything.
Investigators reconstructed the scene of the accident and believe that Braden was driving at least 88 miles per hour where the speed limit was 40.
Braden’s mother denies that her daughter was drunk.
"I had two nurses minimal in that hospital, I asked ‘was there anything in her system?’" Cynthia Bienvenue said. "They said no."
She said that her daughter has two-year old son and is considering going back to school. If convicted, Braden could spend anywhere from 2 to 20 years in prison and pay up to a $20,000 fine.
The Deer Park officer in charge at the time of the investigation is no longer with the department